“Mo-o-o-o-m, Grace gets fruit roll ups in her lunch box every day,” my daughter Solvi lamented last week. “Why can’t I?”
“Because they are full of sugar and bad for your teeth,” I dodged. “Plus they’re pretty expensive.”
But she got me thinking. What if I made them myself? Then I could control the amount of sugar, not to mention make sure there were no lurking additives, and possibly even keep down the price. And so, armed with my new dehydrator…
See below for ingredients and step-by-step instructions:
Photographs by Justine Hand.
Above: For my fruit roll ups, I opted for the simplest ingredients: fresh fruit, honey, lemon juice, and a dash of sugar.
Above: After washing the fruit, I put my little helper to work cutting off the stems.
Above: A touch of honey added to all the other ingredients, and you are ready to purée.
Above: After puréeing the fruit, pour it into a lightly greased fruit leather tray. A set of two trays is available at Nesco; $9.95. A Garden Master Pro Dehydrator also is available at Nesco; $130.
Above: Because Solvi is a berry “nut,” I also tried a strawberry-blueberry mix.
Above: You can also use the oven to make fruit roll ups by spreading a reduced purée onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Above: After your fruit has no sticky spots, it’s ready to cut.
Above: To store, roll your fruit leather in parchment paper.
Above: Success! Homemade fruit roll ups are even more delicious than store-bought.
DIY Fruit Roll Ups
On the Internet I found a million different recipes for fruit roll ups, using a variety of fruits and sweeteners. In the end I concocted my own simple recipe. You, too, can experiment.
- 1 pint (16 ounces) of fruit; I used strawberries and blueberries
- 2 tablespoons sugar*
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/8 cup water
- Parchment paper
*A little note about sweeteners. You can use sugar, agave, honey, applesauce, or nothing to sweeten your fruit leather. I opted for a honey/sugar combo because the honey gives the fruit roll ups a silkier texture. I always like a little tart with my sweet, so I also added lemon juice.
After washing the fruit, combine ingredients in a blender and purée. Spread a thin layer onto a lightly greased fruit roll up tray. Set your dehydrator to 140 degrees. After about three hours, start checking your fruit. It is dry when there are no sticky parts. Remove the dried fruit leather from the tray while it is still warm. Lay it on a non-stick surface and cut into strips. Roll stripes in parchment paper and store in an airtight container for up to a month.
For those of you who do not have a dehydrator, you can also make fruit roll ups in an oven. After you make a purée, cook it on the stove top at medium heat for about ten minutes to reduce it. Then spread the mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat. Set the oven temperature to 140 degrees and let cook for about three hours or until there are no sticky parts. Cut into strips and store as above.
N.B. Looking for more healthy snacks from the garden? Try two of our favorites: Dried Fruit and Quinoa Fruit Bars.
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